In Jainism self-realisation is accomplished through personal purity and remunciation . Jainism considers man as a wanderer and wayfarer. There is little regard for worldly life and its accomplishments Emphasis is laid more on man’s inward life. High code of spiritual discipline is encouraged and prescribed. Austerity and self-control is the Jina’s (Conqueror’s) method of realising the self.
The Jain concept of man is one of commonsense realism and pluralism. A perfect man has the highest consciousness. Passions like anger, pride and greed cause bondage which can be got rid of through two processes, Samvara (stopping the influe of new karma) and Nirjara (wearing out the existing karma). Man can attain equanimity when he practises the three jewels (tri-ratna), namely, right faith, right knowledge and right conduct.
The concept of man in Jainism is both optimistic and realistic, not pessimistic as some advocate. The goal of life is the restoration of the pristine purity of the soul so that man may attain pure knowledge. Jainism prescribes “Manahashuddhi” or purity of mind as the path of salvation. Such purity is based on the control of the senses (samyama). One must struggle against the four Kashayas (passions) of anger, pride, deceit and greed. Mental equilibrium leads to the conquest of these four passions. Man must follow the ideal of universal friendship (maitri) and praise the good traits of others. Although man is constantly subject to the influx of karma-pudgala, he has in him infinite power for right action. Man’s hope of salvation rests on his own efforts of driving away the past karma and preventing the fresh entry of new karma into his soul. The statement that Jainism is a religion of self-help is a result of the emphasis on individual effort. Man is the crown of this world.
The liberated soul in Jainism is a Siddha’ who possesses God-like qualities and serves as a beacon-light for the world. He is free from the influx of karma and stays in a state of eternal blessedness. Such a person is called a Jina (Victor) and Vira (hero). He is intrinsically holy, positively detached, actively self-controlled and self-purified, having achieved salvation through an inner process and tran quility of mind,
The sum and substance of the concept of man in Jainism is that every soul has got infinite capacity for spiritual progress and that it/she/he can by its very nature gain infinite knowledge and can enjoy boundless joy. Truth should not be thrust on any one, but should first be practised and then preached. An individual occupies an important place in Jainism. Thus social progress has been subordinated to individual development.
Man’s life is not meant for sensuous enjoyment. Mahavira, therefore, pleaded in favour of transformed, metmorphosed life which is something essentially different from the life materially enriched. Life transformed is a life divine. The philosophy of Jainism is not at all the philosophy of escapism as man never runs away from trials and troubles He faces them boldly with the exclusive object of evolving himself into perfection, a state of transformation par-excellance. This is the foundation on which the superstructure of Jainism is built for man
It is by his own exertion that man attains god-hood. The soul (man) can regress or progress Spirtual regress is as much a fact for man as is spiritual progress. According to Jainism a substance is not static because it undergoes change every moment, and is also static as it never loses its existence, it persists through modes. This is how a room has been made for both Being and Becoming The thinkers in Western philosphy saw self-contradiction in it. They tried to explain. Being or Becoming as illusory. It is in Jainism that both Being and Becoming are reconciled. Thus Jainism is neither scepticism nor agnosticism nor materialism. It is neither indecisive like the sceptics nor dogmatic like the extremists. It strikes a golden mean. It bears a deep impress on man in today’s world.
Jainism is the religion of self-dependence. The liberated soul acts as the light house to direct the individuals to cross the world-sea over. Reverence for all living beings (ahimsa) and respect for all view-points (syadvada) are the most important contributions of Jainas to world philosophy. In this respect Jain creed is unique in the world. Man is at liberty to choose his way of life If his choice falls to the service of mammon. his future is doomed. No body will be able to save him from downfall. If he chooses the life of self-control, self-reliance and universal brother- hood, he will surely elevate himself to spiritual heights.